The unlikely story of Berthe Rosalie Kitazawa Fouque, a Franco-Japanese businesswoman active in New Caledonia from 1937 to 1941, offers a novel way to connect the economic, political, and social histories of the Second World War in the South Pacific. Her story also illustrates a largely forgotten episode of French colonial history: the successful assimilation and integration of a New Caledonian Japanese community from 1892 to 1941. As the unlikely emissary for one of Japan's most powerful industrial interests, Kitazawa Fouque temporarily acted as a privileged intermediary between the Japanese military-industrial complex, the French colonial administration, and the New Caledonian Japanese population. The reasons for her initial success and ultimate failure illuminate the shifting boundaries of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and class in the Franco-Japanese cultural encounter.
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Copyright 2014 by Society for French Historical Studies.
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